Maduro says oil finance commitments won from China

Venezuela gets $5 billion credit line from China

Caracas, Sep 17 (Prensa Latina) President Nicolas Maduro returned on Monday to Venezuela after a successful visit to China, where he signed 28 cooperation agreements on education, health, technology, security, trade, energy, mining and culture.

The flow of cash halted almost three years ago, however, when Venezuela asked for a change of payment terms amid falling oil prices and declining crude output that pushed its state-led economy into a hyperinflationary collapse.

Analysts blame years of neglect during which state oil firm PDVSA's infrastructure became rundown and exploration was curbed, while oil revenues were used to plug the fiscal deficit.

Furthermore, Maduro is seeking additional Chinese support to weather an economic meltdown due to the collapse of oil prices almost four years ago.

Maduro also met his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, who told him that China supports the Venezuelan government's "efforts to seek a stable national development", according to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.

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Maduro has halted most payments on Venezuela's foreign debt and owes more than $6 billion to bondholders, cutting off most sources of new financing. Conditions on that credit were made more flexible in 2016. Venezuela previously accepted a $5 billion loan from China for its struggling oil sector but has yet to receive the entire amount.

Venezuela's government has massively devalued the national currency as part of a series of measures meant to halt the economy's free-fall into hyperinflation.

More than 1.6 million Venezuelans - facing shortages of food and medicine at home - have left their country since 2015, mostly for neighboring Latin American countries.

On Friday Almagro cited the "suffering" of Venezuelans and said "a military intervention" to overthrow the Maduro regime should not be ruled out.

"So, if salaries are increased by decree, and the commercial and industrial sectors can not sell their products because of these problems, and on top of that because of electricity blackouts, infrastructure problems and the loss of qualified personnel, which is leaving the country, then it's easy to understand that many may prefer to close".

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